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The scoreboard tells the story at the end of Ireland's record victory.
The scoreboard tells the story at the end of Ireland's record victory.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Ruthless Ireland round off 2021 on a high with historic 11-0 win over Georgia

Vera Pauw’s side got their World Cup qualification bid back on track in style at Tallaght Stadium.
Nov 30th 2021, 9:16 PM 34,147 19

Republic of Ireland 11 (ELEVEN)

Georgia 0

VERA PAUW’S REPUBLIC of Ireland women’s team made history tonight with a thumping 11-0 win over Georgia at Tallaght Stadium.

The biggest competitive victory ever registered by an Irish men’s or women’s senior international team, the Girls In Green’s previous record win was 9-0, achieved against Montenegro in 2016, and Malta in 2003.

All involved labelled this a must-win clash, but this was a demolition job against the group’s minnows, with Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign back on track at the halfway point after last week’s Slovakia slip-up. They now sit happily in second place in Group A.

A Denise O’Sullivan hat-trick, two from captain and Player of the Match Katie McCabe, one-a-piece from Kyra Carusa, Lucy Quinn, Saoirse Noonan, Amber Barrett, and Megan Connolly, and an early own goal made it a perfect performance with 3,523 fans watching on.

On a wet, windy and wild night in Tallaght, Ireland made a serious statement. Keep in mind the Georgians are ranked 123 of 168 nations in the world – 90 places below Ireland – and were extremely poor, but in their three losses to Sweden, Slovakia and Finland, they conceded nine in total. Ireland blew that out of the water tonight, with a goal spree expected – if not demanded – but this was on another level.

Pauw made four changes to her XI from Thursday night. There were recalls for Diane Caldwell and Ruesha Littlejohn, Shelbourne teenager Jessica Ziu was handed her first start, and US-born striker Kyra Carusa was tasked with leading the line.

Carusa’s inclusion came in the absence of Heather Payne, with Áine O’Gorman, Savannah McCarthy and Jamie Finn all dropping to the bench.

diane-caldwell-and-katie-mccabe-celebrate-after-georgia-score-an-own-goal Diane Caldwell celebrates Ireland's opening goal. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

From the get-go, Ireland were all over their visitors. Their welcome to Dublin was an unpleasant one, though the dream start for their hosts: an Maiko Bebia own goal making it 1-0 with just four minutes in the clock. She turned in one of many sublime McCabe deliveries with the Georgian defence at sixes and sevens.

The Arsenal left-sided star was a constant thorn in the their right side, playing higher up the pitch than before with the switch paying dividends. Her class shone through more and more with every passing minute in the first half. 

In tricky conditions, Ireland zipped the ball around and played some nice football. With confidence, too, taking advantage of the poor standard shown by their opponents.

Not only were they dangerous down the left, Ziu and Lucy Quinn were lively as they linked up time and time on the right. Ireland laid siege on Teona Sukhashvili’s goal, and had several chances before Carusa’s first international goal doubled their lead in the 21st minute.

One of the closest came when Sukhashvili kept a drilled-low McCabe free-kick out with her feet, while the Ireland captain’s follow-up effort whisped wide. Georgia resorted to hacking down their hosts; Irina Khaburdzania making Megan Connolly pay for an excellent one of her own by lifting her out of it and seeing yellow.

Then, moments after a goal-line clearance, Carusa’s goal came off the back of a McCabe corner as the San Diego striker turned in a trademark Louise Quinn flick-on.

McCabe’s deliveries caused Georgia problems time and time again, as did her link-up with perfect 10, O’Sullivan, and they connected devastatingly in the 37th minute, as Lucy Quinn then rattled the net.

Georgia only had 10 players on the field with the time; Nino Pasikashvili having been helped off after an innocuous collision, with the stretcher called shortly after.

Either side of the third goal, Ruesha Littlejohn and Megan Connolly (twice – a free, and then a header) had efforts go over, while Georgia put in several more crunching tackles. The visitors’ first chance of the half came in the 45th minute, and saw captain Khatia Tchkonia send a curling effort straight at Courtney Brosnan, who desperately tried to stay warm with a few escapades up-field.

Ireland finished the half like they started it: ideally. In the third minute of injury time, and on the stroke of the break, O’Sullivan grabbed her first of the night after turning in the impressive Littlejohn’s  well-worked delivery.

Pauw’s side picked up where they left off, and after 13 more minutes of knocking on the door, O’Sullivan had her second through a sharp shot from the edge of the box.

A McCabe penalty appeal was waved away to boos from the lively Ireland crowd on the hour-mark, though there were cheers two minutes later when O’Sullivan completed her hat-trick with a lovely header after another assist from the skipper.

Having spent the night as provider, McCabe turned scorer in the 70th minute, from the spot after a handball. It was a typically cool finish, after Bebia’s awful night turned into a nightmare as she, perhaps harshly, saw red after her second yellow card for a handball in the box.

Three minutes later, McCabe had her second – and Ireland’s eighth – after a simply beautiful turn and shot.

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katie-mccabe-is-congratulated-by-denise-osullivan-after-scoring-her-second-goal Katie McCabe celebrates goal number eight with Denise O'Sullivan. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

With the shackles well and truly off and showing ruthless intent, everyone wanted in on the scoring act: Caldwell went close with a stunning long-range effort, while her defensive colleague, Niamh Fahey, spent most of her time in the Georgia half.

One of many sets of fresh legs sprung from the bench, Saoirse Noonan grabbed her first Ireland senior goal on 82 minutes, tapping in after Connolly’s shot was cleared off the line after a corner.

Chants of ‘We want 10′ rang around the ground thereafter — and it came in the 89th minute courtesy of another substitute, Amber Barrett. She gave the crowd exactly what they wanted with a ‘Siuuu’ celebration, after slamming the ball into the net.

They were even treated to 11 as the clock ran down; Connolly’s goal finally coming directly off a free-kick, rounding off the perfect night for this Ireland team.

11/10.

Onward to April 2022.

Screenshot 2021-11-30 at 22.42.10 Source: Uefa.

Republic of Ireland: Courtney Brosnan; Niamh Fahey, Louise Quinn, Diane Caldwell; Jessica Ziu (Amber Barrett, 75), Ruesha Littlejohn (Ciara Grant, 67), Megan Connolly, Katie McCabe; Lucy Quinn (Roma McLaughlin, 67), Denise O’Sullivan; Kyra Carusa (Saoirse Noonan, 75)

Georgia: Teona Sukhashvili; Mariam Kalandadze, Nino Sutidze, Tamari Tatuashvili, Irina Khaburdzania (Anastasia Bolkvadze, HT); Nino Pasikashvili (Ani Dzadzua, 41 inj.), Natela Tsotseria (Nino Chkhartishvili, 64), Natia Danelia; Maiko Bebia, Khatia Tchkonia, Ana Cheminava ((Mariami Janikashvili, 81)

Referee: Jurgita Macikunyte (Lithuania).

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Emma Duffy

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